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Timothy Olmsted, St. Paul Teacher Accused Of Discriminating Against Black Students, Sees Case Move To Federal Court
Sep-13-2012 548 0


Heights Community School parents have filed a lawsuit that is now moving to federal courts against the St. Paul Public School District in Minnesota, amid an investigation into allegations that teacher Timothy Olmsted discriminated against black students.

Olmsted resigned after the district placed him on paid leave in the spring after parents complained that he called black students "fat, black and stupid" and told them, "you will never amount to anything" and "you only have one parent.

The teacher also allegedly forced black students to sit in the back of the classroom, or sit with their desks facing the wall.

"He told the whole entire class that it is easier for him to teach rich white folks than poor black people," Tolbert told reporters.

Olmsted resigned in March, but is still being paid through the first week of October, and parents are dissatisfied. He is also not facing disciplinary action due to the resignation.

In the suit, parents claim that the district failed to protect their children from Olmsted, the Star Tribune reports. Latasha Tolbert, mother of 12-year-old Jamia Ware, said she made nearly 100 calls to school officials in the fall regarding Olmsted's classroom behavior, but the no one acted until January.

District representatives, however, tell the Star Tribune that an investigation was launched promptly and all complaints against the teacher were addressed immediately. Olmsted's attorney notes that the teacher "denies any improper conduct and believes that the claims against him are baseless."

But the educator has a record of controversy. The St. Paul School District reported in 2002 that Olmsted gave a sixth grade girl a birthday card with sexual innuendos, and requested that she read it to the class. He was also accused of giving a graphic description of castrating horses and throwing testicles into a field to feed cats.

For the various incidents over the years, disciplinary actions against him have ranged from written reprimands to days of suspension without pay. Students also find his more recent, racial comments strange.

"He would say random things like when I get out of the shower my dog dries me off," student Aylecia Ingram-Jones told reporters in a separate report.

Her father, Miguel Jones, has moved the teen to another school district, and asserts that there should be no question about whether Olmsted should be allowed to keep teaching.

"I wouldn't stand for it," Jones said. "Right is right. Wrong is wrong."

Minnesota does not have statewide regulations regarding disciplinary action for teachers, so process is followed based on district decisions and as outlined in teachers' union contracts.

The allegations in St. Paul are similar to complaints against Kathleen Pyles, a math teacher at North End Middle School in Waterbury, Conn., who was placed on paid leave in June while officials investigate claims that she addressed a black student with a racist remark.

Parents have accused Pyles of inappropriately calling a student "black boy" when she couldn't remember his name. When she first called the boy by the wrong name, he pointed out her mistake. So she responded, "How about black boy? Go sit down, black boy."

Parents are calling for her dismissal.

In another incident in March, a Virginia high school English teacher allegedly asked the only black student in the class to read a poem in a "blacker" manner.

Jordan Shumate, a ninth-grader at George C. Marshall High School in Falls Church, Va., says he was reading aloud Langston Hughes' "Ballad of the Landlord" when teacher Marilyn Bart interrupted him.

"She told me, 'Blacker, Jordan -- c'mon, blacker. I thought you were black,'" Shumate told The Washington Post.

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Jul-30-2015 99 0
Police officers in Cincinnati appear to have corroborated a false account of the fatal shooting of Samuel DuBose in the immediate aftermath of the incident, a detailed analysis of body-camera video released on Wednesday shows.

DuBose, an unarmed 43-year-old black man, was shot dead by white University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing on 19 July. The officer claimed he was “dragged” by DuBose’s vehicle following an altercation during a routine traffic stop, and was therefore forced to open fire, shooting DuBose once in the head.

On Wednesday, Tensing was indicted for murder after Hamilton County prosecutor Joseph Deters said body-camera footage, which he released at a press conference announcing the charge, showed the officer was not dragged during the encounter.

“It is our belief that he was not dragged. If you slow down this tape you see what happens, it is a very short period of time from when the car starts rolling to when a gun is out and he’s shot in the head,” Deters told reporters on Wednesday.

Related: 'Senseless' and 'asinine': prosecutor's words on Samuel DuBose killing a win for reformers

The footage shows that Tensing falls back, after DuBose is killed instantly by a single shot to the head and immediately chases after the vehicle. Deters said that DuBose’s limp body likely caused the car to accelerate.

A Guardian analysis of the nearly 28 minutes worth of Tensing’s body-camera footage released by the prosecutor’s office also shows the aftermath of the shooting and reveals that on three occasions, two other police officers repeat Tensing’s account that he was dragged by DuBose, and one of these officers claims to have witnessed it occurring.

To which a second officer, who stands out of the frame, replies: “Yeah, I saw that.”

Tensing continues: “I thought I was going to get run over. I was trying to stop him.”

Then, at six minutes and 54 seconds into the footage, while Tensing is seemingly conversing with the same officer, he states: “He was dragging me, man.”

The officer replies, “Yeah.” To which Tensing continues: “I got my hand and my arm caught inside.” The officer then replies, “Yeah, I saw that.”

The identity of this officer is not immediately clear. A copy of the University of Cincinnati Police Division’s information report on the shooting names university police officer Phillip Kidd as a witness to the entire event.

The information report, written by UC police officer Eric Weibel, states: “Officer Kidd told me that he witnessed the Honda Accord [DuBose’s vehicle] drag Officer Tensing, and that he witnessed Officer Tensing fire a single shot.”

Weibel’s report continues: “Looking at Officer Tensing’s uniform, I could see that the back of his pants and shirt looked as if it had been dragged over a rough surface.”

About 14 minutes into the video, while Tensing is still at the site of the shooting, but has now moved further away from DuBose’s crashed car, he is instructed by a third officer to indicate where the altercation had started.

This officer appears to be a member of the Cincinnati police department and wears a Sgt’s lapel on his arm. He states: “You can talk about anything you want except for what happened [sic]. The only thing that I ask of you is where did it start?”

Tensing replies: “I initiated the traffic stop at Vine and Thill.”

The two officers then clarify the direction Tensing was driving. The Sgt then states: “And, it looks like you got dragged if I’m understanding, looking ...”

To which Tensing replies: “Yes.”

The Hamilton County prosecutor’s office did not reply to a question from the Guardian after Deter’s press conference over whether any other officers were being investigated in relation the incident.

A representative for the UC police referred all questions to the prosecutor’s office. The Cincinnati police department did not respond to a request for comment.

At a rally in Cincinnati on Wednesday night organized by Black Lives Matter, protester James Yaacov Delaney said he thought the responding officers should be held accountable.

“They knew and they had plenty of opportunities to change their story about what occurred and they didn’t,” Delaney told the Guardian, as rain and night fell on Cincinnati.

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Lolly Bowean Jul-30-2015 84 0
On the day he was finally released from prison after murder charges were dropped, Alprentiss Nash vowed he would use his freedom studying to become a chef, learning about antique cars and traveling.

And in the nearly three years since, he kept true to his word, visiting New Orleans, Miami and Atlanta and learning to ski at a resort in Wisconsin. He also bought a Harley-Davidson motorcycle and a 1960 Buick Electra 225 and completed a culinary program.

"He was really happy to be free, and he never talked about his time in prison," said Nash's mother, Yvette Martin. "He wanted to just get past it and be happy. He was overjoyed and excited about building a new life."

But on Tuesday afternoon, Nash's second chance at life came to a tragic end as he was gunned down while leaving a currency exchange in Chicago, according to Chicago police and his family. A person of interest is being questioned, authorities said.

Nash's family believes he was the target of an armed robbery.

After he was released from prison in August 2012, Nash obtained a certificate of innocence and a $200,000 payout from the state, his attorney said. And he was seeking millions of dollars in a federal lawsuit against the city of Chicago and a number of police officers.

As a result of the $200,000 payout and loans against the expected settlement of his lawsuit, Nash lived the good life, dressing extravagantly and driving a nice car. It could have attracted negative attention, his attorney and family said.

"He had been robbed last year," said Nash's attorney, Kathleen Zellner, who helped him win his exoneration and was representing him in his lawsuit. "He was stressed out, and he felt pressured and that people were after him. People thought he had money."

Close Nash relatives agreed.

"I think the money attracted the wrong people, and they were watching him," said his cousin, Coby Adolph. "He worked hard to get back into society. Being locked up for so long ... he was trying to get into the swing of things."

Nash, 40, who grew up in the Roseland neighborhood, was convicted in the 1995 murder of Leon Stroud during a home invasion and was sentenced to 80 years in prison.

During his 17 years in prison, Nash missed countless family celebrations, gatherings and milestones, including the funeral of his maternal grandmother and his son's entire childhood.

But he also earned his GED diploma and wrote the legal brief that eventually helped him win his freedom. DNA testing linked another man to a ski mask found near the crime scene, clearing Nash of the crime. Cook County prosecutors refused to say he was innocent but dismissed the murder charges.

On his release, Nash said he was determined not to be bitter.

"I'm on a new journey," he said that day. "As far as my life, it begins now, and I'm thankful."

Back in Chicago, Nash took on life with an urgency, his family said. He re-established bonds with his younger sister and took an interest in the nephews and nieces he met for the first time. He visited his mother weekly, driving her to errands and walking her to the lakefront to relax. He spent time with his maternal grandfather on the West Side.

"He wanted to be a good uncle, so he'd check up on the kids," said Nash's sister, Robin Martin. "We'd talk on the phone for hours about our childhood, the time before he was taken away."

He enrolled in a 13-week culinary arts program and took on an apprenticeship, said officials with Inspiration Corp.

"We had discussions about the stress of things he was experiencing, but he was always enthusiastic and faithful and determined to finish," said Sharon Ako, who was the head chef trainer who instructed him. "He was hard working. He got along with the other students and he was genuinely liked. It took tenacity and diligence to stick with it and take orders and learn the skills he needed to learn."

His family said Nash planned to move to New Orleans and open a restaurant but was taking life day by day in the meantime.

On Tuesday morning, his mother said Nash called her as he usually did. Hours later she learned he had been killed.

"I just screamed from my innermost belly because I wanted God to know I hurt," Martin said.

As she moved about her modest apartment Wednesday talking about her first-born son, Martin paused and wept out loud. The tears rolled down her face.

"Nothing has ever felt so heavy on my heart," she said. "All those years he was taken from us and to lose him again in a short amount of time.

"He got a second shot at life and then someone took it away. For nothing."

On the day he was killed, Nash sent a text message to his attorney just 30 minutes before the shooting, telling her he was out looking for a job. Despite his certificate of innocence, he had difficulty finding work.

"He was trying to have a normal life," Zellner said. "The streets are so vicious and so cruel."

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MEG WAGNER Jul-29-2015 162 0
A University of Cincinnati cop was charged with murder on Wednesday for the quick-trigger shooting of an unarmed driver as prosecutors released disturbing body camera footage of the fatal traffic stop.

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters ripped into Officer Ray Tensing during a news conference to announce the Grand Jury indictment in a killing that has set the city on edge.

“This is the most asinine act I've ever seen a police officer make — totally unwarranted,” Deters said of the July 19 shooting of 43-year-old Samuel DuBose. “This does not happen in the United States.”

The 25-year-old cop, who is white, surrendered at the county courthouse shortly after the indictment was handed up in the death of DuBose, who is black. The officer could face life in prison if convicted.

"We wanted the right thing to be done, the just thing to be done, the fair thing to be done," Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley told reporters. "We wanted the truth to come out."

Tensing pulled over DuBose near the university campus for a missing front license plate and fatally shot him after grilling the father of 10 about whether he had his driver’s license.

But Deters said video from the stop showed no such thing. Instead DuBose began to slowly pull away from the officer, and Tensing "fell backward after he shot (DuBose) in the head," the prosecutor said.

Tensing "purposely killed" DuBose, Deters said, adding that the cop "should have never been a police officer."

“He wasn't dealing with someone who was wanted for murder. He was dealing with someone who didn't have a front license plate,” Deters said, calling the traffic stop "chicken crap."

DuBose’s mother, Audrey DuBose, said she could forgive Tensing “if he asks,” and praised God for the indictment.

“I want everybody to just lift up their heads in prayer and thank God, because this one did not go unsolved,” the mother told reporters.
DuBose’s mother, Audrey DuBose, said she could forgive Tensing “if he asks,” and praised God for the indictment.
“I want everybody to just lift up their heads in prayer and thank God, because this one did not go unsolved,” the mother told reporters.

Earlier on Wednesday, Tensing's attorney Stewart Mathews said the Grand Jury indictment was likely “given the political climate.” But Mathews said given the evidence he'd seen, he didn't believe there should be an indictment.

Cincinnati Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell, who leads the separate city-run force, brushed off concerns the murder charge would make policing tougher for other officers faced with difficult situations.

"This officer was wrong," Blackwell said. "And when we're wrong, we have to be accountable."

DuBose's family had been pressing for the release of footage from Tensing's body-mounted camera following the deadly confrontation. The video showed the officer try to pull open the car door after DuBose failed to hand over a driver's license. DuBose shifted the car into gear, and Tensing immediately pulled his weapon and fired.
The car rolled down the street and came to a rest on the sidewalk. DuBose, shot in the head, was dead behind the wheel.

Tensions have run high following the killing. University President Santa Ono said he decided after speaking to police leaders to close the main campus on Wednesday as they waited for the news from the Grand Jury.

DuBose has a stepdaughter who is student at the university and recently returned from China, said Ono, who has met with the dead man's family.

The traffic stop shooting came amid months of national scrutiny of police dealings with African-Americans.

Mayor Cranley said prosecutor's decisive handling of the case should be a "model for the whole country" and called for peace. Bishop Bobby Hilton said there was "absolutely no reason" for any violence given the response by Deters and the Grand Jury to hold Tensing responsible.

"That brought a lot of solace," Hilton said. "That brought as much comfort as could be be expected to an enormous amount of pain."

Mourners packed Cincinnati’s Church of the Living God on Tuesday for DuBose’s funeral.

"I feel so sorry for this family and what they lost," Deters said Wednesday. "And I feel sorry for the community, too."

Tensing joined the university police force since April 2014 after working as both a part-time and full-time officer in Cincinnati suburb Greenhills for three years.

He received an overall satisfactory rating on his annual performance evaluation this April. It noted he was extremely strong in the traffic area and maintained control of his

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Austin Siegemund-Broka Jul-28-2015 148 0
Terrence Howard's ex-wife filed suit against the actor Tuesday claiming he assaulted her in 2013.

In the civil complaint filed in Los Angeles, Michelle Howard claims the alleged assault took place while they were staying in a rental house in Costa Rica.

On the evening of July 29, 2013, Howard "followed Plaintiff into the restroom of the rental house and punched her on the left side of her face. Defendant also grabbed Plaintiff by her neck and pushed her against the bathroom wall and strangled her for several seconds," states the complaint. The filing continues he "grabbed her neck again and pinned her against the shower glass and her head hit the wall" when she tried to flee the room, leading the actor's son-in-law Billy to intervene.

"While Billy tried to pry Defendant's hands from Plaintiff's neck, Defendant whispered to Plaintiff, 'Remember what I told you in Bora Bora? That is what I'm gonna do,' referring to a prior instance where Defendant told Plaintiff that her body would never leave the island," states the complaint. "Plaintiff interpreted the reference to mean that Defendant was going to kill her."

Later on the evening of July 29, claims Michelle, he charged at her and she pepper-sprayed him in the face. "Defendant continued swinging his arms and caused Plaintiff to fall down. While Plaintiff was on the ground, Defendant repeatedly mule-kicked Plaintiff in the head and shoulders," states the complaint.

She claims assault and battery, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress. In the same complaint, she claims he defamed her by "mak[ing] accusations disseminated to the public through the media that Plaintiff had made death threats and other threats against Defendant and his family through various social media accounts."

She doesn't specify damages.

This is not the first time the Empire star has been accused of spousal abuse. He was arrested in 2001 on charges of assaulting his then-wife Lori McCommas, and in Michelle's 2011 divorce papers she claimed he repeatedly threatened and hit her throughout their marriage. In 2013, she received a restraining order against him on claims including the allegations regarding the Costa Rica trip in the Tuesday complaint.

Howard and executives for Fox, which airs Empire, were questioned about the accusations at the Television Critics Association's winter tour in January. Fox TV group chairs Dana Walden and Gary Newmanclaimed they weren't aware of the accusations until December 2014, when they were already in business with him, "A lot of the things I did were the product of not knowing how to deal with frustration, not knowing who Terrence Howard is," said the actor. "I've grown so much from anything that's happened in the past."

The Hollywood Reporter has reached out to Howard's reps for comment.

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Ben Chapman Jul-28-2015 181 0
Teachers College Community School principal Jeanene Worrell-Breeden admitted to cheating on students' state reading exams before she committed suicide in April, according to an internal memo released by city Education Department officials Monday.

Worrell-Breeden threw herself in front of a subway train on April 17, the same day a whistleblower complained to the city's Special Commissioner of Investigation about the principal's cheating. Worrell-Breeden died on April 25.

The story of Worrell-Breeden's death was first confirmed by Education Department officials over the weekend, but the single-page memo on the investigation into the Harlem principal's misdeeds was just released Monday.

"This investigation substantiated the allegations of testing improprieties against Principal Breeden," states the internal Education Department memo submitted by city Education Department investigator Robert Small and dated June 9.

The reading exam scores of 47 third graders at Teachers College Community School were invalidated as a result of the investigation, Education Department officials said.

An Education Department spokeswoman declined to answer additional questions about the city's probe into cheating at the Harlem school.

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Jason Silverstein Jul-28-2015 164 0
As racial tensions in Baltimore exploded earlier this year following the death of Freddie Gray, former Police Commissioner Anthony Batts allegedly lied about meeting with Gray's family, according to a letter from their attorney.

That accusation could add another disgrace to the career of the man who was fired earlier this month following the city’s violent riots and rising homicide rate.

As protests escalated following the death of the 25-year-old Gray, who died a week after suffering a spinal cord injury in police custody in April, Batts told media he had met with Gray’s grieving family.

But on April 24, just days before the most destructive night of rioting, the family’s lawyer called out Batts’ claim, according to the Baltimore Sun.

“It has come to our attention that you made statements claiming to have met with the family of Freddie Gray, Jr. about the investigation into his death,” the attorney, William H. Murphy, Jr., wrote in a letter to Batts.

“These statements are not true. Stated succinctly, you have not met with Mr. Gray's family. Please cease and desist making such statements.”

Murphy noted in his letter that he would have helped arranged any such meeting.

Batts was criticized for the police department's response to violent riots over Gray's death and the rising homicide rate following those riots.

Murphy copied Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake in the letter. Rawlings-Blake eventually chose to can Batts, saying he failed to make the city safer after the riots and “the people of Baltimore deserve better.”

His ouster came around the same time a city police union criticized the handling of the riots,

The riots resulting from Gray’s death led to about 200 officers getting injured and cost the city millions in damages from looting and fires. Police commissioners later revealed Batts and other top cops instructed officers at the riots to “not engage” demonstrators, even after violence broke out.

Six Baltimore officers now face charges for Gray’s death, which came after an alleged "rough ride" in a police van shattered most of his spinal cord.

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Bobby Blanchard Jul-27-2015 227 0
Sandra Bland’s toxicology report, released on Monday, showed she had levels of marijuana in her system when she died.

The report detailed little new information and was brief. Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis said additional tests will be conducted. After releasing the toxicology on Monday, he declined to comment on the findings. Mathis also announced he is forming an independent committee of former prosecutors and defense attorneys to review evidence about the arrest and death of Bland.

“There are many lingering questions regarding the death of Sandra Bland,” Mathis said.

Bland was pulled over on July 10 in Waller County for failing to signal a lane change. The routine traffic stop turned heated when Bland refused to put out a cigarette. Bland and the state trooper got in a screaming fight that ended in her arrest. Three days later she was found dead in her jail cell. Since then, her case has attracted national attention.

Medical examiners ruled the death a suicide and an autopsy report released on Friday said she died by suicide. But both the Texas Rangers and the FBI are conducting formal investigations into her death and arrest. Bland’s family has said they had no reason to think Bland might be depressed.

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PHILIP CAULFIELD Jul-27-2015 178 0
"Krissy was and is an angel. I am completely numb at this time," the heartbroken father said in a statement Monday.

"My family must find a way to live with her in spirit and honor her memory. Our loss is unimaginable."

"We thank everyone for the prayers for Krissy and our family as we mourn my baby girl," the New Edition singer added.

Bobbi Kristina died Sunday at Peachtree Christina Hospice in Duluth, Ga., nearly six months after she was found floating unconscious in a water-filled bathtub at her home in Roswell, north of Atlanta.

Family members had spent months praying at her bedside, yet she never regained consciousness following the Jan 31. mishap.

The only child of Bobby Brown and the late Whitney Houston will be honored with a funeral in Atlanta and then flown to New Jersey to be buried beside her mother, according to a new report.

An autopsy was also planned to determine what led to her death, Fulton County authorities said.

In a statement Monday morning, the Fulton County Medical Examiner's Office says the time that elapsed since Brown was found until her death Sunday will "complicate" its effort.

Bobby Brown's remarks Monday were his first since his troubled daughter's passing.

In a separate statement, Brown's lawyer said Bobbi Kristina "fought to get well for months, however she has succumbed to her injuries."

"Yesterday Bobbi Kristina Brown took her place in heaven," the lawyer's statement said.

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PETER SBLENDORIO Jul-27-2015 234 0
The longtime boyfriend of Bobbi Kristina Brown is on "suicide watch" following her death on Sunday, according to a report.

Nick Gordon was said to be inconsolable hours after Brown's passing, and those close to him feared he was considering taking his own life, a source told website Hollywood Life.

"Nick is on suicide watch," a source told the gossip site. "He is out of control with regret and sadness. He keeps saying that if only [Bobbi Kristina] had heard his voice, things would have been different. She may have lived."

Gordon had been living with Bobbi Kristina at her Roswell, Ga., home when she was found floating unconscious in the bathtub on Jan. 31. Her family members have said Gordon he had something to do with the incident, but he has maintained his innocence throughout.

Brown's father, singer Bobby Brown, banned Gordon from visiting her at the hospital, leading Gordon to make several public pleas to see her.

Two weeks ago, Gordon was slapped with a $10 million lawsuit accusing him of beating Bobbi Kristina while they were together and stealing from her while she was in a coma.

The civil complaint, filed in Fulton County, Ga., by Brown's court-appointed conservator Bedelia Hargrove, claimed Gordon caused "substantial" harm to Brown, including an incident when he punched her in the face, "knocking out a front tooth and (dragged) her upstairs by her hair."

It also accused Gordon of taking more than $11,000 out of her bank account days after Brown was hospitalized.

Brown, 22, passed away Sunday after months in a medically induced coma.

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